Is Chewing Safe? Protecting Your Dog from the Dangers of Recreational Chewing - McCann Professional Dog Trainers

Is Chewing Safe? Protecting Your Dog from the Dangers of Recreational Chewing

There are a lot of chewing options out there for dogs these days. How do you know what might be a safe choice? We're strong believers in supervision while chewing so that you can immediately intervene if something becomes a danger to your dog.

If you do leave your dog unsupervised to chew, be sure that it is with something that you trust and have watched them chew safely in the past.

Supervised Chew Toys

These are things that as a rule, you trust your dog is safe when chewing. Remember that every dog is different. Some dogs will be perfectly safe with certain chew toys while others may be in danger with the same toys. Always be aware of the potential for cracking teeth if you give your dog anything that is hard, such as bones, antlers and like chews. Here are a few examples of good, bad and common chewing options


These are typically a good option for most dogs. Easily stuffed, they can occupy dogs for some time. Take care to watch that your dog is not chewing through the Kong. Some dogs will. A stronger version of the Kong is typically sold along side regular ones.


It is fairly well accepted these days that Rawhide is not a good choice for chewing. The manufacturing process uses a vast array of chemicals and dying techniques. It is also not easy to digest and can cause blockages, either instantly if a dog swallows a large piece, or over time if a dog eats a large quantity of Rawhide. Use due caution when considering Rawhide as a chew.

Bully Sticks

These are actually cleaned, stretched and dried bull penises. As they are 100% fibrous muscle, they are completely digestible. They do tend to be expensive and as with any animal product, they can carry bacteria and even ecoli. Be sure you know the source of your Bully Sticks as in an ideal situation, they are made in North America where the processing and inspection process is higher quality.

Real Bones

Uncooked real bones can be a good option for some dogs. Keep in mind that they are usually rich and quite messy. Therefore, they should be given in short durations until the dog's system has become accustomed to them. Dogs should never be given cooked bones that can be crushed as they can splinter and cause damage to the digestive tract.

Interactive Toys

These are toys that are meant for play and interaction, not for chewing. Things like frisbees, rope toys and tennis balls can be an attractive chew for most dogs, but be warned! Definite dangers exist for dogs if they are allowed to chew any of these types of toys.

Here are some further details on what's safe to chew with 17 year McCann staff member, Shannon.

Hi! I'm Shannon Viljasoo and I joined the McCann team in 1999 while training Quincey, my wonderful and spirited Rottweiler, to have good listening skills. I'm the Director of Online Training and Content for McCann Professional Dog Trainers and I enjoy writing about dogs and dog training for the McCann blog. I currently share my life with 2 Tollers (Reggie & Ned) and I love helping people develop the best possible relationship with their 4-legged family members.

Back to blog